An amazing set for the high-end collector: two original printing plates of John R Neill art for The Patchwork Girl of Oz book (pp 95 and 98). These plates feature the Wise Donkey and the Foolish Owl and Wise Donkey:
…over the door was a sign that read: “Miss Foolish Owl and Mr. Wise Donkey: Public Advisers.” When Ojo read this sign aloud Scraps said laughingly: “Well, here is a place to get all the advice we want, maybe more than we need. Let’s go in.” The boy knocked at the door. “Come in!” called a deep bass voice. So they opened the door and entered the house, where a little light-brown donkey, dressed in a blue apron and a blue cap, was engaged in dusting the furniture with a blue cloth. On a shelf over the window sat a great blue owl with a blue sunbonnet on her head, blinking her big round eyes at the visitors. “Good morning,” said the donkey, in his deep voice, which seemed bigger than he was. “Did you come to us for advice?”
In the fine press booklet “John R. Neill: Imperial Illustrator of Oz” (2014), Oz expert Michael Patrick Hearn explains: “It had long been assumed that all of the original printing plates for the Oz Books had been destroyed over the years first during the scrap metal drives of World War II and after Reilly & Lee was purchased by Henry Regnery, who eventually dropped all of the Oz titles except Baum’s. Unexpectedly last December a significant number of these long forgotten plates turned up in New York. They came from the internationally renowned Richard Manney collection of rare books and comprise the only set known to have survived”. See also http://theozenthusiast.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-printing-plate.html for more information, including a comment by Paul Bienvenue on the likely date range for these plates.
The plates each measure about 5″x7 1/8″ (the same size as printed in the books) and are wrapped in a paper with the printed image, which has some notes and wear as shown. These two plates were originally offered at $1750 and $1500 each with custom clamshell cases and the aforementioned booklet; I’ve been able to obtain some stock without the trappings at a discounted price. If you missed out on the original offering, here’s a chance to own two truly one-of-a-kind items for your Oz collection.
Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998.